I disagree with something Stephen Harper said

Well, okay, I disagree with lots of things Stephen Harper says, but the latest is his opinion that robocalls recently made in Saskatchewan on behalf of the Conservative Party do not violate CRTC rules.  The calls in question use the pretext of public opinion research to push political spin – kind of a soft core dirty trick.

On January 30, 2012, Saskatchewan residents received robocalls advising that proposed changes to the province’s riding boundaries would pit urban areas against rural ones, and offend “Saskatchewan values.” The Conservative Party opposes the boundary changes and initially denied that it had anything to do with the calls.

However, after confronted with forensic evidence gathered by reporters Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher at Postmedia, Frank Delorey who speaks for the Conservative Parthy, reversed himself on the earlier denials and admitted that the calls had been made on behalf of the Party.

Now, quite apart from the ethics of deploying push polls, there is also a question of whether such calls are lawful under CRTC rules which require that robocalls:

“… shall begin with a clear message identifying the person on whose behalf the telecommunication is made. This identification message shall include a mailing address and a local or toll-free telecommunications number at which a representative of the originator of the message can be reached. In the event that the actual message relayed exceeds sixty (60) seconds, the identification message shall be repeated at the end of the telecommunication…” [emphasis added]

According to media reports,  the only information identifying the source of the Saskatchewan robocalls indicated that they originated with “Chase Research.”   Chase Research is listed with the CRTC as a trade name registered by Edmonton-based RackNine Inc. (the voice-broadcasting company that was used by persons unknown to send out the infamous Pierre Poutine robocall in the 2011 election).  But while Chase Research was identified as the caller, the robocalls were not being made on its behalf  but rather on behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Nevertheless, speaking in Parliament, Mr. Harper confidently asserted that the robocalls complied with CRTC rules.  We will now have to see what the CRTC has to say in response to a complaint about the calls made by Ralph Goodale, but it’s very difficult to see how it could do otherwise than to join me in disagreeing with Mr. Harper.

Stay tuned for more on the Saskatchewan robocalls.

  1. the salamander

    They lied to the media and to Canada and Canadians… How glib & disingenuous Stephen Harper is. Wondrously ignoring the Government lie and Conservative Party denials and skipping gayly to how they were simply ‘working within the process’ .. a deceitful, convoluted process that dictated they lie and deny at all costs unless forced to admit they were the authors of the poll.. and the customer of the robo call/poll service provider, Racknine.

    February 11th, 2013 // Reply
  2. Elena

    I’m an Albertan and I don’t think of myself as a hate moninrgeg redneck American (like that’s a dirty word). In fact I’d say I don’t know any Albertans that are like that. Guess your perception wherever you are is so much clearer than mine.The fact is our leadership in this country is poor. We just aren’t getting quality at the top. I personally don’t mind Harper that much, but he still is making a lot of poor choices. That said to switch to anyone else at the top though would be a big mistake. I’ve heard what Stephan Dion is saying about the oil patch out here. I’ve heard what he’s been saying about the military in Afganistan. I swear the man is out to destroy the economy and eliminate any ability the military has to do anything effective overseas. Layton is not a legitimate choice either simply for the reason that I think he’d turn the state into the bleeding heart cause clearing house of the western world. He’d forget to do anything for the rest of us that hold jobs and pay taxes. Personally I think the best place for this country to be is close to where it is right now; a Conservative minority government. What the opposition should do is it’s job and tear all these rookie ministers a new ass over their policy choices and maybe even ferret out the incompetent know it alls. Hopefully that will also bring out the effective people that can take over once it is time to turf the Tories. I just hope to God the Liberals don’t come back to power in the state they are right now. It’ll be the end of this economic boom as we know it.

    March 15th, 2013 // Reply

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